Author Feature: Alison Hughes

Author Feature: Alison Hughes

When the Gladiators basketball team’s nasty coach finally gets turfed midseason, things couldn’t possibly get worse. The team hasn’t won a game yet, and morale is at rock bottom. Sameer, who announces the games and keeps score, and Vijay, the team mascot, have their hands full keeping the team’s spirits up. When they get promoted to assistant coach and manager, can they help a small, unathletic, Shakespeare-quoting drama teacher coach the team to victory, or at least to dignity? Or will the courtside drama eclipse even the school play?

What image/scene/character did you start Kings of the Court with?

I started the book with an image in my head of the main character Sameer, modeled loosely on a 14 year old friend of my son’s who was a short guy but managed the basketball team, ran the school’s student council and was promoted to manager at McDonalds at age 14. The kid should be running the country.

What kind of research did you do for your book?

I believe the years and years I’ve spent in stinky school gyms playing, watching and coaching basketball count for this book! Also some reading of Shakespeare.

Basketball, Shakespeare, sports, couch, announcer, middle grade novelDo you write in chronological order?

Most often I do, but sometimes I jump around a little.

What’s the hardest part of writing?

TIME! Finding good, solid chunks of time in which to write. I’m not short on ideas, inspiration or motivation, but time is my nemesis.

What’s your favorite form of procrastination?

I’ll get back to you on that… Actually, it’s probably grocery shopping, because I convince myself that it’s productive and it has to get done.

What book do you wish you wrote? 

Most recently, The Narrow Road to the Deep North because it’s beautiful and horrible and stayed with me for weeks after I read it.

What is your favorite aspect of Kings of the Court?

I love the relationship between Sameer and Vijay. They’ve grown up together yet no matter how much they exasperate and annoy each other, they stay close.

What is your writing ritual?

Me at my desk with a cup of mint tea and some chocolate, the dogs on the couches snoring.

Kings of the Court is available now!

Author, middle grade, YA, Young Adult, writer
Alison Hughes writes for children of all ages, and her books have been nominated for numerous awards. Alison also volunteers at the Centre for Family Literacy and does frequent presentations at schools, libraries and young-writer conferences. She lives in Edmonton, Alberta, with her husband and three children. For more information, visit

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